‘Nix the Dix’ a raw deal

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 05:26 AM

Recently members of the North Carolina General Assembly have made moves to “nix the Dix” deal with the City of Raleigh.

The deal with Raleigh preserves the 325-acre site of the former state-owned Dorthea Dix Hospital for use as a regional park.

The lease not only preserves valuable public open space in the middle of a densely populated area, but the land also stands as a tribute to the countless thousands of mentally ill patients who were hospitalized there. Many of those patients were poor or otherwise abandoned.

Adding insult to injury, legislators want to renegotiate the deal for only a portion of the site.

Something smells funny.

All cynicism aside, this opens up the prospect for a potential developer to capitalize on a sweetheart of a deal to garner prime real estate.

The public could not help but foresee the “Dix Hill Condos” coming in the near future.

We can certainly see some back room dealings going on here which is below board and not in the best interest of the public.

We question the need to renegotiate this deal and question what prompted lawmakers to believe this needed to be done.

To us, there is no justification to have only part of the property subject to renegotiation. This is a potential Pandora’s Box that does not need to be opened.

In an effort to make this deal look good the legislation will earmark proceeds from the renegotiated City of Raleigh lease to support mental health programs.

While that might look good on the surface, there should be an addition to the stipulation.

If the General Assembly was serious about funding mental health programs they would add a stipulation that the lease revenues are to be additive and not supplant any state funds currently going to mental health programs.

Of course, to us, the best deal would be to keep the agreement with the City of Raleigh the way it is and use the land for that deal’s intended use ... for the public.

However, if this General Assembly is bent on reworking the negotiations, the least they can do is ensure that funds used from partial land purchase go as an add-on to mental health funding.

With this potential renegotiation, that is the only fair and just thing to do.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark